Friday, June 13, 2008


I've wondered for a long time about those people manning tables around New York City, the ones with the bright red "UHO" banners draped over the top. You'll find them in crowded tourist areas like Times Square, Penn Station, Union Square and Columbus Circle. They'll beg with shouts like, "just one penny to feed the homeless" or "please, sir, help the homeless."

Someone once told me it's a scam, that the men and women manning the tables just keep the money themselves. I never really took the time to investigate, but today I did.

The United Homeless Organization was founded 15 years ago by a group of homeless people. Their mission statement says they run a soup kitchen at a Bronx church, provide donated clothing to the needy and enable the homeless to raise money for themselves. Here's the rub. The first time a hobo takes to the street, he or she must turn over half of the profits to the organization. Each time, thereafter, the homeless pay a $15.00 fee and are allowed to keep the rest. Sometimes they can't even cover the $15.00 fee. Others can make a couple hundred dollars.

They put the money in transparent blue plastic jugs( think upside down office water bottles). On any given day, an average of 22 of these tables are set up in strategic, high visibility locations.

As a non-profit, UHO must file a 501C tax form with the federal government. They do and what's on it really tells the whole story. While, the homeless people are actually putting money in their pockets, so it seems, is the organization's only employee, Stephen Riley, the President of the United Homeless Organization.

In fiscal year 2006, the document shows the agency received $84,561 in public support. That would be the money you dropped into those plastic jugs. Now where does that money go? The 501C report notes that it has no employees and no volunteers and that no one, not even it's President are compensated. Really? Look down a little further in the report and you'll see how that 84 grand was spent.

* Program Services: 33,412

* Management: 46,215

* Expenses: 79,627

* Net assets 6767

Fascinating, isn't it. A further examination of the records shows money was spent on such things as travel, supplies, telephones, cars and get this, "entertainment."
Under "program services" $33,412 was spent. And while the document states there are no employees and that the President is not compensated, it appears he is indeed paid. Scribbled-in a little down the page is "support stipend." The amount:
$33,412. So, Stephen Riley's "program services" is essentially his "support stipend." If that's the case, and Riley is an indeed the only one in management at UHO, what do you suppose the $46,215 in "management" money is used for? Don't know for sure, but I'm guessing to increase his income to $79,627, which if you notice is the total expenses for the year 2006. His net assets are $6767, pretty much the difference between his "stipend" and what people gave. So, if I'm reading this right of the $84,561 dollars you gave to the "homeless" $79,627 went into Mr. Riley's pockets.

This is fraud and panhandling at its worst. You what this actually is? It's organized panhandling.


  1. Hi George,
    Thanks for the informative post. Do you have a larger view of the tax form-I cannot read it.
    Thanks, momocat

  2. i grew up in Manhattan and always help the U.H.O. when i was 16 there was a table next to my father store and i ask the homeless person how do i help two drunk drug addicted homeless people next to my apt. he ask where are they. U.H.O pick them up and got the to work at a table, those two drunks got a 2nd chance in life, they stop drinking and woke up everyday to work, got their confidence back. U.H.O are homeless people who help other homeless people, i been to their meetings, i own building and stores and believe me they are a real charity. every year the salvation army pays to make them look bad during Christmas, cause that's their competition on the street. please who looks at the tax report from homeless cash.
    i am doing a sample sale for them with over 300 dj. at nybrands if u like add the com to help. i will love you to come to a U.H.O meeting thank you yani

  3. hi....thank you for exposing these parasites on New York City.

    Have you noticed that they keep multiplying - taking multiple corners so you can't avoid the screams for ONE PENNY! Also, they have parked in front of many Starbucks now.

    What can be done? This is a quality of life issue? who can we organize to remove this scurge?


Got something to say.....say it now. Please be advised if your comment is crude, mean spirited or otherwize obscene or libelous, you won't see it. Otherwize, fire away and thanks for reading. George